'A new direction': Badgers fans react to announcement of Luke Fickell being named head coach
MILWAUKEE (CBS 58) -- Sunday marked a new era of Badgers football, as former Cincinnati coach Luke Fickell was named the team's head coach.
He led the Bearcats to the College Football Playoff last season and has an overall record of 57-18 in his six years at Cincinnati.
Fickell, the Consensus 2021 National Coach of the Year, is now the 31st head coach in Badger history.
He was picked over interim coach and former Badgers All-American Jim Leonard, which shocked some fans and former teammates.
Troy Fumagalli, who played tight end for the team, Tweeted that "losing Jim Leonard will go down as one of the biggest losses in Wisconsin football history."
Former defensive back Eric Burrell Tweeted that the hire is "the worst decision Wisconsin will ever make."
But some lifelong fans inside of Major Goolsby's sports bar in Downtown Milwaukee said they were "excited" to see the new direction the team could possibly go.
“I think it’s absolutely amazing. I think picking Luke Fickell is an absolute must. I think he’ll do very, very well taking them a different direction. It could all be the best thing that happened to Badger Nation," said Steven Froemming. "I think looking at it after a new coach is the right direction to go because what they’ve been doing for the last 5, 7, 10 years has not been working for them."
Bruce Krueger, who said he's been rooting for the Badgers for 50 years, said he was "happy" about the decision.
"Get an outsider and get some better recruits and play a little better brand of ball and I think Luke Fickell’s going to be a great hire," Krueger said. “They have to go for Big Ten championships and real good ball games, and I think Luke Fickell is very good and let’s give him a chance."
In a University of Wisconsin press release, Fickell said:
"My family and I are thrilled to join the Wisconsin family. This is a destination job at a program that I have admired from afar for years. I am in total alignment with Chris McIntosh's vision for this program. There is a tremendous foundation here that I can't wait to build upon. This world-class university, athletic department and passionately loyal fan base all have a strong commitment to success and I can't wait to be a part of it."